Cabot Oil and Gas Charged With Environmental Crimes


On Monday, Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. was charged with environmental crimes by the Pennsylvania attorney general following a grand jury investigation that found the company failed to fix faulty gas wells in its operations along the Marcellus Shale.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that Cabot will face charges for methane pollution that was found to have seeped from poorly constructed natural gas wells into the local water supply in Dimock, a rural township in northeastern Pennsylvania.

  • The contamination in Dimock has been the subject of investigations by state and federal environmental and health agencies, civil lawsuits, the documentary “Gasland,” several books and advocacy by celebrities.

Why This Matters: As the Washington Post explained, Cabot has long insisted the gas in Dimock’s aquifer is naturally occurring, saying its pre-drill testing of thousands of private water wells in the area show a high percentage with methane. The grand jury asserted that Cabot’s initial sampling of wells and groundwater did not include tests for methane. Additionally, when the film Gasland was released Cabot was one of many companies that vehemently pushed back on the film on the basis that methane was indeed naturally occurring. 

Cabot’s Legal Woes: According to the Washington Post, Dimock became a battleground for pro- and anti-drilling forces after state regulators found that Cabot — one of the biggest drillers in the vast Marcellus Shale gas field — had contaminated 18 residential wells with methane. Homeowners then sued, accusing the company of polluting their water with toxic chemicals and methane.

  • Last week, AG Shapiro’s office announced a deal with Range Resources Corp., Pennsylvania’s most active shale gas driller, to plead no contest to environmental crimes over its handling of contamination at a pair of well sites.
  • Those charges were the first to come out of a two-year grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania’s huge Marcellus Shale gas industry.
  • Hoever, unlike Range, Shapiro said, Cabot “continues to abdicate their responsibility.”

The Charge: The grand jury wrote in their report that,

We find that, over a period of many years, and despite mounting evidence, Cabot Oil & Gas failed to acknowledge and correct conduct that polluted Pennsylvania water through stray gas migration.”

They also cited Cabot’s “long-term indifference to the damage it caused to the environment and citizens of Susquehanna County.”

Up Next

Clean Energy Means More Electricity, Can US Cities Meet the Demand?

Clean Energy Means More Electricity, Can US Cities Meet the Demand?

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Cities across the US are transitioning their buildings to clean energy, which would mean banning natural gas in new construction and promoting electric appliances. But the question remains whether or not infrastructure — foundational and historic — is ready to handle such a demand for electricity.    Why this […]

Continue Reading 358 words
One Cool Thing: Electric Rentals

One Cool Thing: Electric Rentals

As more people around the nation are taking to the roads and skies for their vaccinated vacations, one car rental company is making it easier for folks to not only travel in style, but travel green. Hertz has announced that it will be purchasing 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles by the end of 2022 alongside an […]

Continue Reading 152 words
Climate Change-Fueled Weather Increasing Power Outages

Climate Change-Fueled Weather Increasing Power Outages

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Last year, the average American household experienced eight hours without power, as storms hammered electrical systems built with less erratic climate conditions in mind. That average outage time is double what it was five years ago. But only looking at the average obscures the experience of people who lived […]

Continue Reading 421 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.